Have your say on school travel plans

Education
Education

Central Bedfordshire Council is holding a public consultation on changes to the way pupils travel to schools and colleges.

The plan is for better use of public transport through bus passes and train travel, as well as sustainable ways of getting to school, such as walking and cycling. It also wants to encourage schools to make greater use of their minibuses.

The proposed changes would also help reduce congestion, pollution and parking issues on busy roads near schools; encouraging healthy forms of exercise; and helping the viability of existing public transport routes.

Any agreed changes would not come into effect until the September 2018 intake of pupil admissions. Parents will therefore be in a position to understand the new transport policy ahead of the deadlines for submitting their school admissions application.

Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “In the last year we have spent over £8.4m on school and college travel services, a rise of over £1.1m.

“The proposals we are consulting on will continue to ensure that we operate a fair, equitable and transparent policy to support eligible pupils and their families, whilst meeting our legal duties.”

For those currently receiving support, travel assistance will still be provided, however the type of assistance offered may change. For example, rather than commissioning dedicated transport services such as a private bus, pupils aged 9 or over may be offered a public transport pass instead.

The proposed policies would be applied in full to new applications for the academic year 2018/19.

The consultation is open until Sunday 20 August. The public can give their views online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations or pick up a paper copy from their nearest library.